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Buttermilk in Coffee: Should You Try It?

pouring buttermilk from a glass bottle

While many coffee fanatics drink their coffee just as it is, many more coffee drinkers add cream, milk, sugar, and often even honey to their coffee to take away the bitter taste or just to sweeten the mix. Many coffee drinkers ask if it’s okay to put buttermilk in their coffee if they’re out of regular milk or creamer.

Can buttermilk be substituted for milk, creamer, or even butter in coffee?

In all of our research, we couldn’t come up with a single instance where it’s okay to use buttermilk in your coffee, butter yes, buttermilk, no. If you’re wondering if you should try buttermilk in your coffee, the answer is no, and we’ll discuss why below.

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What Exactly Is Buttermilk?

By definition, buttermilk is a fermented dairy product that’s left behind after butter has been churned. Buttermilk has a much thicker consistency than regular milk does, more acidity, and fewer calories and fat. Buttermilk is terrific for baking things such as pancakes, biscuits, cakes, and other treats, but it’s not the best thing to add to your morning cup of coffee, especially since buttermilk has a sour taste that whole milk doesn’t.

Why Buttermilk Doesn’t Taste Good When Added to Coffee

While the thicker consistency of the buttermilk feels like it should work great in a strong cup of coffee, the sour taste ruins whatever goodness the consistency could add. Regular milk has a light sweetness to it, which adds to the flavor of the coffee for many coffee drinkers. The sour taste of buttermilk in the coffee is apparent right away and ruins the flavor entirely.

While what you try in your coffee is up to you, we feel that the buttermilk ruins the taste of the coffee and that you won’t like it if you try it, so it’s not recommended.

Now that you know our humble opinion of putting buttermilk in your coffee, you might be wondering just what you can use in your coffee instead. In our next section, we’ll take a look at a few of those questions and give you a few suggestions.

What Goes Well in Coffee Besides Milk?

If you reach into the fridge for the milk for your coffee and you’re out, or if you’re just tired of the same old, same old, you can add half-and-half or heavy cream instead. Many people who have wanted to up the taste of their coffee have added ice cream to it also, just for a change of pace, and reported it tastes excellent.

coffee punch with ice cream and mint
Image Credit: Oleksandra Naumenko, Shutterstock

What Can You Use Instead of Coffee Creamer?

When you’re bleary-eyed and tired in the morning, the last thing you want to find is that you’re out of your favorite coffee creamer. Also, if you’re looking for something healthier than coffee creamer for your coffee, cow’s milk is a good option. If you’d prefer something else, you can try coconut milk or almond milk.

If you’re looking to heighten the creaminess of your coffee, try a heavy cream, and to sweeten your coffee in a healthier way, try honey instead of sugar.

There are plenty of ways to sweeten and lighten your coffee that don’t involve you having to stomach the taste of buttermilk in it. Though many people are using butter to flavor their coffee these days with great results, buttermilk just doesn’t have the same taste to it.

So, in answer to the question of whether you should try buttermilk in your coffee, the answer is no, in our humble opinion. There are many other options out there; buttermilk just destroys the taste of the coffee by making it too sour.


Featured Image Credit: Fascinadora, Shutterstock

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Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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